NASHVILLE, TN ­–Some scientists think Omicron is becoming endemic, like the seasonal flu. Cases and hospitalizations are down in some places like Great Britain and South Africa, where Omicron first emerged in November. But not in Tennessee. 

There are 1.69 million confirmed COVIS cases in Tennessee and 21,824 deaths since the pandemic began. Compared to last winter’s peak, Tennessee has 318% more cases, 118% more hospitalizations, and 121% more deaths, according to the New York Times.

“”This pandemic is nowhere near over,” said World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moved 22 countries onto its “no travel” list last week because Omicron cases are increasing in many parts of the globe. 

The Biden administration will give out 400 million N95 masks free to the public in the next few weeks. You can receive up to 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests here:

There is a divide in the public mind about wearing masks, getting vaccinated, or forgetting all that and just waiting for herd immunity. 

CNN reported five reasons why you shouldn’t try to catch COVID:

  1. It’s not a bad cold
  2. You could get long COVID
  3. You could spread it to children
  4. You will stress the health care system
  5. Don’t mess with Mother Nature 

Read the article by Sandee LaMotte here:

“Omicron started in South Africa and went to England,” said Dr. Dali Fan, a clinical professor at the UC Davis Health Science Center in California. It has spread rapidly.

“It peaks very quickly within the first week or two and then it comes down very quickly as well. That’s the whole mark of Omicron spread across the globe,” he said. 

Dr. Dali Fan is a UC Davis Health Science Clinical Professor. He is a member of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the American Society of Echocardiography, and the Chinese American Heart Association.

Fan said the same thing happened in New York. Omicron spread quickly to the middle part of the county and then to the West Coast. 

“Like in New York, which came down after a couple of weeks, in California I think we will see it peak now or in the next few weeks and we will see it come down in February,” Fan said.

“The one confounding factor that I see here in Texas and in some other hard hit states is that the testing centers are overwhelmed and so we are underreporting because we are under testing at the moment,” said Dr. Ben Neuman, a virologist at Texas A&M University.

Because of that, Neuman said Omicron’s grip on the country is probably worse than people think.

Coronavirus researcher Ben Neuman, in his office at Texas A&M-Texarkan

“Certainly at some point the cases will slow and most likely the northern part of the United States that started off this wave before the South, so probably the South will follow the North perhaps a month later,” he said.

However, the current wave is changing as it spreads. 

“In Massachusetts 100% of new cases are Omicron. But as you move westward the surge of cases in the western part of the Unites States is a combination of Delta and Omicron,” Fan said.  He attributed more Delta cases were due to holiday travel. 

Scientists don’t sequence the whole genome of every new infection. They spot check them and extrapolate from what they find. The Omicron molecule is missing a particular spike protein and that is how they tell. 

“It’s the same thing as taking a political poll,” Neuman said. 

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